Could Your Nose Mucous Make You a Super Spreader of COVID-19?

We know that a sneeze or cough can spread coronavirus, but scientists are now wondering if a certain composition of the mucous in your nose might make you a super spreader of coronavirus, even if you have no symptoms. Researchers at the University of Utah are so curious about this that they’re setting up a study on how nose mucous spreads the disease, according to a Newswise press release.

“Not everyone spreads the disease equally,” says biomedical engineering assistant professor Jessica R. Kramer. “The quality of their mucus may be part of the explanation. One person may sneeze and transmit it to another person, and another may not, and that is not well understood.”

The mucous and fluid in your nose is there for a purpose. It helps catch bacteria, viruses and other foreign bodies. These are trapped in the mucus and then leave as the mucus drips out of your nose. When you are sick with a virus or cold, the germs trigger additional mucus production as well.

This is also designed to help fight foreign substances and wash them out of your body. Interestingly, even when you aren’t sick, glands in your nose, throat, airways and intestines produce between one to two quarts of mucus every day.

When you’re sick, whether it’s a virus or a simple sinus infection, the mucus functions as a trap for the allergen molecules or viruses, flushing them out of your nasal passage or into your digestive tract. If you have a sinus infection, antibiotics are probably not the answer. Instead, the following can help:

1. Drink hot liquids, such as tea or hot chicken soup. It will help moisturize your mucous membranes, speeding up the movement of your cilia and thus washing mucus out of your sinuses more quickly.

2. Apply warm compresses to your face, three times a day for five minutes. A small towel soaked in warm water, placed over your face below and between your eyes, will help increase the circulation in your sinuses, which will also help speed up the movement of your cilia.

3. Irrigate your sinuses. (If you’ve never done this before, see the Nasal Irrigation Guidelines source link in the past article above.) Make sure you use a saline solution that does not contain benzalkonium. Benzalkonium is a preservative that can impair nasal function and might sting and burn. To make your own preservative-free saline solution, add one teaspoon of table salt to one pint of distilled water. Nettie pots are readily available and can help facilitate nasal irrigation.

If you also get a fever, you may find you’re coming down with something more serious than a cold or allergy even if you don’t have a cough. In that case, it may be time to self-isolate and take care to wash your hands as much as possible, try to keep your hands away from face and when you blow your nose, be sure to wash again.

This is because you could possibly spread whatever you’ve got by touching something or someone. If you think you may have coronavirus or could have come in contact with it, be sure to call your doctor, self-quarantine, drink plenty of fluids and remember that some health officials are warning not to take nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as aspirin and ibuprofen.

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